We’ve already taken a look at 10tons Sparkle Unleashed port to the Xbox One, and now they’ve released a game that’s pretty different from the soothing marble matching game. Our Crimsonland review takes a look at this classic 2003 top down shooter that’s finally made its way to the Xbox One.
Crimsonland is the first game 10tons ever made, all the way back in 2003. It’s a cult classic, as it was circulated on PC game magazine cover CDs and consequently A LOT of people played it. The Xbox One version is based on the 2014 remaster, and according to 10tons, it runs 99% same code (and 1% same graphics).
There’s no doubt about it. The gameplay in Crimsonland is fast, furious, and bloody. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when things start to get out of hand, but it’s not without its rewards and sense of satisfaction and achievement when you manage to overcome seemingly impossible odds and survive the level.
The concept is simple, you’re tossed into an area with a single weapon – usually a pistol. And then the enemies start to spawn. And spawn. And spawn some more. Your goal is to take them all out before you die. If you die you start the level over again, if you succeed you continue on to the next level. As you kill enemies, which range from spiders to lizards to aliens to zombies to… you get the picture, you are rewarded with power ups in the form of weapons. These weapons are upgrades and as in any game some are better than others depending on the situation. The thing is, each weapon drop is completely random and sometimes you’ll mistakenly downgrade to something less effective in your current situation. Weapons range from shotguns to rocket launchers, and most come in various types including ion, flame, or standard issue bullet based.
Oh, and the “touch of RPG?” If you enable perks mode, which you should as it makes the game a bit easier, once you get a certain amount of experience (the RPG element), you get to choose from one of four perks which will assist you as you continue through the level. Perks are fun and range from health regeneration and faster weapon firing to the insane like trading in 99% of your health for 3 additional perks, instant death, and more. The perks really add some fun to the game as well, and as mentioned previously they can definitely help you shoot your way through each level.
There are seven chapters in Quest Mode with 10 levels each, you’ll want to do this first before hitting Survival Mode as this is where you’ll unlock additional weapons and perks. Any weapons and perks unlocked in Quest Mode are then available in Survival Mode. In addition, once you complete Quest Mode on Normal difficulty, you can go again in Hardcore difficulty, and once you beat that you’ve unlocked the Grim Reaper difficulty.
Survival mode really is where the fun is at. There are a total of six survival modes:
- Survival – Classic survival mode. Use weapons and perks unlocked in quest mode to score sky high.
- Rush – Can you survive the alien onslaught with your trust assault rifle? [No, you cannot.]
- Weapon Picker – Limited ammo. Random weapons spawn at random points. You do the math.
- Nukefism – What to do when you’re all out of ammo and have no weapons? Use the nukes and other powerups to your advantage.
- Blitz – Chaotic fast-paced survival with perks and weapons unlocked in the quest mode.
- Waves – Survive waves of the critters.
Of course, the goal of survival mode is to last as long as you can and rack up the biggest score you can. Score is important here as there are global leaderboards, and of course everyone wants to be atop the leaderboards!
As far as controls go, it can’t get any simpler. The right thumbstick moves your character around, the left thumbstick is used for aiming, and the left and right triggers are used to fire your currently equipped weapon. If you feel like reloading before your current ammo clip runs dry, you can press the left or right bumpers.
Crimsonland is fun. Plain and simple. Yes it’s a simple game, but sometimes simple is best and there’s something to be said for sitting down for some mindless shooting fun without having to think too much.
Being a remastered version of a 2003 game, the graphics have been updated but still remain fairly simple. And that’s not a bad thing as it suits the game just fine, especially when you have hundreds of beastly monsters on the screen. The one thing that I would have liked to see is an option to zoom in a bit as while the default view – and the bird’s eye view perk – give you a good grasp on what’s coming at you and from what direction, there isn’t much detail to be made out.
The sound effects in the game are fantastic, each weapon sounds like you’d expect, and the explosions and squishing of monsters as they die is oddly satisfying. The background music is just right as well, doesn’t get distracting and provides just the right level of urgency during gameplay.
Co-op! Crimsonland features up to four player local co-op in both Quest and Survival Modes. Don’t think for a second that more players means it’s easier… more monsters get added to the level depending on the number of players.
The multiplayer aspect was great, and a lot of fun. It ran just as smooth as single player mode, but you’ll have to fight for the weapons while perks affect all players. In addition, at the end of each level you’ll have a comparison bar chart that shows which player had the most kills. There are also co-op leaderboards, so you and your best buds can team up frequently and try to take that top spot on the co-op leaderboards in one of the Survival Modes. While local co-op is fun, it’d be nice to see online co-op added.
Crimsonland is a fun, fast, frantic, top-down shooter. While the Quest mode is fairly easy to get through (on Normal difficulty anyways), the variety of the Survival Modes will keep you and your friends coming back for more. And, as 10tons says “yes, the cover art is a homage to Doom, Duke Nukem and other similar images. There’s no school like old school!”
The game will launch on October 14th, is priced 13.99 USD/EUR with -15% launch discount (not confirmed yet if it’s for everyone or Deals with Gold, will run for a week). A free trial will also be available.